Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated an imposing 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel here and said the world’s tallest monument will serve as a reminder about his courage to thwart conspiracy to disintegrate India. He used the occasion to slam those criticising the decision to build the monument, questioning whether any crime had been committed by constructing such memorials for national heroes like Patel.
The giant monument, named as the ‘Statue of Unity’ and built on an islet Sadhu Bet near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat’s Narmada district, is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US and taller than the 153-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China. The monument was conceptualised by Modi during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister and he had laid the foundation stone for it in 2013.
Patel, the first Home Minister of Independent India, is credited with merging 550 princely states into the Union of India. He had used force to annex princely states of Junagadh ruled by Nawab and Hyderabad ruled by nizam, both of whom had wished not to merge their states with the India union.